The Anchor River bridge connects downtown Anchor Point with the Old Sterling Highway and the Anchor River State Recreation Area, as seen in this May 2013 file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The Anchor River bridge connects downtown Anchor Point with the Old Sterling Highway and the Anchor River State Recreation Area, as seen in this May 2013 file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

AP bridge repairs delayed until late August

After citizens complained about a pending closure of the Anchor Point bridge over the Anchor River, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities confirmed on Friday it will delay repairs of the bridge abutment until late August.

“It’s going to need a better fix. They didn’t want to shut it down right now,” said Shannon McCarthy, a spokesperson for DOT&PF, in a phone interview on Friday. “It’s a peak traffic time.”

In a notice on July 23 from DOT&PF, Gordon Lange, highway maintenance foreman for Peninsula District Maintenance and Operations, wrote that starting Monday the Old Sterling Highway would be closed between Anchor Point Road and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste Transfer Site. That meant to access Anchor River campgrounds, people would have to drive to the north end of the Old Sterling Highway via the Sterling Highway and back south to the Anchor Point Road, about a 10-mile detour.

That won’t happen.

In an email forwarded to the Homer News, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Willy Dunne, who represents Anchor Point and rural areas of Homer, on Wednesday queried Rep. Paul Seaton, N-Homer, about the pending closure. Dunne said some constituents had called him about it.

On Thursday, Seaton said that after talking with local road maintenance staff and DOT&PF Commissioner Marc Luiken, the decision was made to delay repairs. Anchor Point has already felt an impact to tourism from low king-salmon runs, and the bridge closure would hurt the economy even more, Seaton said.

McCarthy confirmed on Friday that repairs would be delayed until late August. On about July 10, a bridge crew inspected the abutments, or the approaches to the old steel bridge, and found wood timbers holding up the abutment had rotted.

“They were concerned with the condition,” McCarthy said in a phone interview on Friday morning. “… The soil of the abutment was starting to flow down and under the bridge.”

McCarthy said maintenance crews put more gravel in the abutment as a temporary fix. When repairs are done later in August, the wood timbers will be replaced with concrete supports.

“It’s still considered a temporary repair,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is to replace the bridge.”

DOT&PF crew will monitor the bridge and abutment, McCarthy said.

Any bridge replacement would be largely paid for with federal funds. McCarthy said typically federal projects take about four years.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

This photo taken on July 26, 2018, from underneath the Anchor River bridge abutment shows where wooden timbers have rotted on the bridge near Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Paul Seaton)

This photo taken on July 26, 2018, from underneath the Anchor River bridge abutment shows where wooden timbers have rotted on the bridge near Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Paul Seaton)

More in News

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Police to update radios using grant money

The department received almost $260,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic Party candidate for governor Les Gara attends a Zoom meeting with Homer residents on Nov. 18, 2021, from his Anchorage, Alaska, home. (Screen capture)
Gara makes election pitch to Homer

Democratic Party candidate for governor Gara visits virtually.

A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)
Body found in 1980s ID’d through DNA analysis

The body, found in 1989, had been unidentified until now.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID continues decline; 1 new death

The state had an estimated rolling average of 253.3 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Census reports minimal state population growth

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population grew by about 3,400 people between the 2010 and 2020 census.

The old Homer intermediate school building, showing the Homer Boys & Girls Club and gym on the south side of the building at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue.
The old Homer intermediate school building on the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue, as seen in October 2010. It’s now known as the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, or HERC. (Homer News file photo)
Homer awards contract to study use of rec complex site

The goal is to help the city understand the maximum use of that property.

Genna Stormer gives Santa a hug during Christmas Comes to Nikiski at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
December brings the holiday cheer

Groups across the peninsula get into the spirit of the season with public events.

Most Read